Rams quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor will fly to Cincinnati with his agent early Monday morning to begin contract talks with the Bengals to become their next head coach, sources said. Patriots linebackers coach Brian Flores will be heading to Miami, in the meantime, to finalize his deal to become head coach of the Dolphins.
Both moves have been widely anticipated for weeks now, with both teams having to wait until they were finished coaching with their current teams to finalize deals. While Taylor has yet to negotiate a deal, and the team has not reached out to his agent, sources said, that process will begin in earnest tomorrow. He has already been assembling a staff to join him in Cincy, with Raiders quarterbacks coach Brian Callahan joining him as offensive coordinator, and former NFL head coach Jack Del Rio a favorite to become the defensive coordinator.
Flores will be bringing several of his assistant coaches from the Patriots with him as well, with former NFL head coach Jim Caldwell assuming a significant position on the offensive staff. Both young coaches are duplicating a model put in place in Los Angeles by wunderkind head coach Sean McVay, who tabbed former head coach Wade Phillips to be his defensive coordinator and assume heavy duties on the side of the ball that the head coach had less expertise with.
Taylor, 35, was also hotly coveted by the Broncos and Cardinals, sources said, and would have had a strong opportunity to land those jobs, but was focused on the Bengals opportunity. League sources said the Cardinals and Broncos were raving about their interviews with Taylor. But the Bengals have significant offensive talent in place, Taylor previously coached at the University of Cincinnati, and the Bengals have the most accomplished quarterback of those teams in Andy Dalton.
Despite having just turned 33, and having been a head coach for just two years, McVay's coaching tree is already growing and several people close to that staff believe Taylor is the best prepared to have immediate success. He worked very closely with breakout quarterback Jared Goff, who has taken major strides since McVay and his staff took over the team.